We’re thrilled to be working with two incredibly talented musicians – Avital Raz and Sam Lewis – on a brand new Indian Fusion project. Here they share their ultimate ‘Indian Fusion’ Spotify Playlist – songs that have influenced their music-making.

Avital and Sam will performing live at Band on the Wall later in the month (book your free ticket here) and will be running a free taster session on 16 Nov for Indian Fusion Lab – a new ten week music course that starts in January (book a free taster here). You can read more about Avital and Sam’s Brighter Sound stories and the wonderful Indian Fusion Lab here.

Avital’s Spotify Playlist, Nov 2015

Dead Man – Nitin Sawhney

This song from Nitin Sawhney’s seventh album ‘Phitre’, combines bluesy vocals and electric guitars with a bollywood style duet. It’s such a strange and wonderful combination. Nitin Sawhney has shown me anything can go with anything.

Lament – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook

‘Night Song’ is the first album where I’d heard of Indian music. I was obsessed with it for years and still think it’s the best fusion album ever made. This song in particular – I remember dancing around the room with my friend Shoshi who introduced me to it. We made up silly words in hebrew that sounded like what Nusrat was singing.

House Carpenter – Pentangle

I don’t think Pentangle would have been as great as they were without John Renbourn’s sitar. A few months ago I was really excited to see him play with Wizz Jones at Band On The Wall but sadly he passed away the night before the scheduled gig.

Ever So Lonely – Sheila Chandra

This was the first time I’d heard Indian style vocals sung in English. I’ve been doing it myself ever since. I have a lot of respect for her work in general.

Within You Without You – George Harrison

It would be strange not to include one of Harrison’s songs in a playlist of Indian Fusion. He wrote it after a seven-week stay in India with his friend and sitar teacher Ravi Shankar and it was recorded in London with musicians from the Asian Music Circle. Harrison’s ashes were scattered on the Ganges in Benares where I lived. In Rishikesh, a few hours up north, I once went to a temple that had a sign outside that said: “The Beatless were here”. I’m not sure if it was a spelling error or commentary on their music. Unfortunately, this song isn’t available on Spotify, so instead, here’s a video curtsey of YouTube user AuthorizedRock:

Sam’s Spotify Playlist, Nov 2015

Making MusicZakir Hussain

This is the title track of an album that accompanied me regularly during my first trip to study in India.  This song is written in Raag Hamsdwami (best heard between midnight and 3am) but also great when you’re out in the sun!  The lineup is something quite special – Zakir Hussain, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Jan Garbarek and John McLaughlin.

Banarasi Dhun – Lokesh Anand

This is my teacher (guru) who I stayed with and learnt from in Delhi. This was also one of the first melodies I learnt to play.

The Love Of A Goddess – Part 2 – Ray Spiegel

From the album Sum and Kali, such a fresh feel, and the mix of western and Indian instruments first got me thinking of fusions!

Cherry Town – Trilok Gurtu

From the album ‘The Glimpse’. Once again the mix of Western and Indian instruments, this time playing the blues, or songs inspired by; it had me hooked from the off.

Nat Bhairav – Kala Ramnath

The purity of the solo violin sound brings a stillness that I could not resist. This raag is also a favourite of mine (its a harmonic major scale for those who are interested – something which I had not come across before).